Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the Honors and Scholars Program?
The primary goal of the Honors and Scholars Program is to ensure that our best students have an intellectually enriching and challenging experience as undergraduates, and to reward academic excellence. To do this, the program offers special honors courses open only to Honors and Scholars participants, special sections of some other courses, and opportunities for cultural and recreational activities such as free opera and museum tickets, trips to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, banquets, etc.
The Program allows honors students to go beyond the usual disciplinary boundaries of a subject, to develop individualized approaches to existing classes, and to increase one-on-one interaction with professors.
The Honors and Scholars Program also benefits the Virginia Wesleyan community as a whole, by creating a greater awareness of scholarly achievement on campus, providing a model of honor within the community, sponsoring programs that raise the level of intellectual engagement and discourse on campus, and offering professors the chance to develop courses that will excite them as much as they do the students.
Why would I want to be in the program?
Aside from the highfalutin' talk of intellectual enrichment above, there are many mundane (if still important) reasons to be in the Honors and Scholars Program:
- Early registration -Honors and Scholars are able to pre-register for classes before any other students, including seniors.
- Honors Hall Eligibility - Honors and Scholars have the opportunity to live in the Honors Hall, two wings of one of the best dormitories on campus. Features include an improved studying environment and funds available for activities and for improving the common areas.
- Activities - Each semester the Honors and Scholars group plans social events, enjoys a catered banquet, performs public service projects, invites prestigious guest speakers, and more. Past activities have included dolphin watching excursions and trips to Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens.
- Résumés - Graduating as a Wesleyan or Presidential Scholar (see below for the distinction) is noted on your permanent transcript, and looks great to future graduate schools and employers.
How do I apply for the Honors and Scholars Program?
- For incoming freshmen: an invitation will be sent to you by the program director if your high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores meet the requirements for particpation in the program.
- For current Virginia Wesleyan students: Any student who has earned the minimum 3.40 GPA is welcome to apply to the program. Eligible students should submit a completed Honors and Scholars application form, including signatures from two faculty members who support your application, to Dr. Easter in Blocker 212 or through campus mail. Students can apply to the program as soon as they have grades from courses taken at Virginia Wesleyan University on their transcript (so, at the earliest, at the end of your first semester here, or as soon as your GPA is high enough). Students may enter the program with the intention of graduating as a Wesleyan or Presidential Scholar.
How do I challenge a course for Honors?
Each semester several special honors courses or honors sections of existing courses will be listed in the Course Schedule, which are searchable in the WebAdvisor course schedule by selecting Honors and Scholars in the drop down TYPES menu. In addition, students may opt to challenge for honors credit any four credit 200-, 300- or 400-level class. Permission must be attained from the instructor and the Honors and Scholars director to challenge a 100-level class. To challenge a course for Honors credit, the student must complete the Honors course proposal form, which is to be filled out in conjunction with the professor teaching the course to be challenged. The form is a contract in which the professor and student agree on what work will be performed and how it differs from what other students in the class are doing, but more importantly how this work creates a higher intellectual challenge for the student. Often students will challenge a course for honors as a way of pursuing individual research projects in their major or to delve deeper into a particular subject of interest beyond the usual course content. Course proposals are due at the end of the third week of classes in the given semester so that the committee may review all proposals in a timely fashion.